In my previous post I mentioned that I would be exhibiting at The Good Food & Wine Show this year. If you don’t know what it is, let me inform you. It is the largest culinary event in Africa! There are celebrity chefs flown in from around the world, lots of top notch wines and foooood.
There are 3 separate events in South Africa’s 3 largest cities – Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban. Seeing as I live in Cape Town, I partook in the Cape Town event.
What makes the Good Food & Wine Show so exciting (as a business owner) is the sheer volume of people that attend the show. Over 3 days a whopping 25 000 people walk through those doors and they want 3 things: good food, good wine and culinary entertainment.
I don’t do events of this scale very often. In fact I usually tell myself after each one “I’m never going to do this to myself again!” Yet I somehow end up doing a large event again 2 – 3 years later. Is there a name for this condition?
Preparing for the Show
Stall Styling & Décor
If you are not into styling and décor, please go ahead and skip this part!
Now baking is one thing. Styling a food stall is a whole other beast I am not very good at conquering! It’s just not really my thing even though I’ve tried super hard in the past. And that’s okay. Over the years I’ve come to terms with calling in help when it is needed!
In this case I approached my friend and flower genius, Marieke du Plooy from Marijke, to do all the flowers for the stall and also assist me with the layout and design of Philosophy of Yum’s stall. You might recall her work from a previous project we did together – the Folksy Garden Party in November 2015!
Marijke did all the breathtakingly beautiful bouquets of flowers and also made stunning flower crowns for the girls at the stall! They absolutely loved wearing them and got tons of compliments from customers. The crowns just added that something extra. SO special.
All in all, this was really the stall of my dreams. It was everything I hoped it would be.
Marieke has such a stunning style and incredible instincts. She showed me an image of an ombre tablecloth (which I had never heard of or seen before in my life) and I decided right there that I just HAD to make this for my stall! The tablecloths were probably the most labour intensive items in the décor, but it was totally and completely worth it.
I used 2 parts Fir Green cold fabric dye and 1 part Charcoal grey dye… and I also added a teaspoon of blue food colouring! Haha! I didn’t want teal, but I also wanted to take the edge off the green. I didn’t buy blue fabric dye, so in went the food colouring.
The technique is actually quite simple. You wet the fabric and then lay it out flat on top of some plastic (which in this case took up our entire living room). Next I took a huge paintbrush, dipped it in the dye and proceeded to paint the fabric from one side to the other.
I left the fabric to think for about 24 hours and then painted over the colour fixative. After this I left it to dry on the plastic and then I hung it over some chairs till it was completely dry. The actual labour was probably around 2,5 hours, but the drying and resting took a good 2 days. I’d do it again in a heartbeat! It’s just SO PRETTY!!
The final colour was a type of “sage” which I thoroughly loved. Since there would be lots of flowers I wanted to stick with a natural type of colour that most people can relate to. Pink or purple would not have worked at all and grey might have been a bit too cold.
I also wanted a mellow type of colour that would not draw focus away from the brownies, but rather compliment them.
The Display Case
I really needed a beautiful new display case for the Good Food & Wine Show. Initially I opted for a glass display case, but when I got the quote I nearly fell off my chair! For some unknown reason I started looking for companies who work with Perspex.
Back when I studied architecture we used Perspex in our models all the time for windows and doors because it reads like glass, but is more durable and lighter. The durability and weight would be particularly handy since we would need to carry the display case around quite a lot.
Cape Acrylic was just outstanding throughout the whole process! They are so committed to their clients and the quality of their work. I could not be happier with my display case and everyone thought it was made of glass. Biggest perk: the Perspex display case cost like 85% less than a glass case would have. Thanks Cape Acrylic!
Our dear friend and brother, Ben Walker from 2Can Carpentry, helped so much with the stall! Thank you for your amazing craftsmanship! He made a beautiful base for the display case in a matter of minutes. He and my husband also made this backdrop out of little blackboards. I’ve found that it always helps to have clients’ comments at your stall 🙂
Good Food & Wine Show Experience
The celebrity chefs at the Good Food & Wine Show this year were just incredible! Marco Pierre White and Jan Hendrik Van der Westhiuzen were the main attractions. Other incredible chefs include Neill Anthony (a little anecdote on him later), Reza Mahammad, Sarah Graham, Vanessa Marx, Jenny Morris and singer J’something. They cooked, they answered questions and entertained the eager crowds with such panache!
The rest of the hall was packed with everything you could possibly imagine… Exclusive bars, food trucks, cake decorating labs and even the largest Elephant Cake in the world! Yes, that is an actual cake – CRAZY!
Philosophy of Yum
As for my stall, we actually won an award! Silver for the best newcomer at the Good Food & Wine Show! The criteria covered the look of your stall plus the actual product. It was so darn exciting and the award even came with a voucher to dine at a great restaurant here in Cape Town. Fun! It was a great feeling being rewarded for all the effort we went through to get the stall so pretty. Making a quality product is of course the reason why Philosophy of Yum exists, but being rewarded for that is naturally great too!
I’m really happy with my decision to sell brownies only. I believe that proper brownies are one of the highest ideals of earthly bliss (yes, I have been watching “Anne with an E”) for anyone with a mouth. They are chewy, gooey, FULL of flavour and can be adapted into an endless variety of flavours!
I LOVE BROWNIES! And so did all of the customers! A big thank you to CocoaFair for sponsoring some chocolate for my stash of brownies!
I also had the most wonderful friends to work at my stall this year. TC and Angie were absolutely amazing! Who wouldn’t buy brownies from such beautiful ladies?? 😉 Angie particularly enjoyed meeting Neill Anthony as she has been watching his cooking show for quite some time.
Neill Anthony had one of our Red Velvet Brownies and apparently loved it – so rad! The recipe is here on the blog if you want to make them for yourself.
Taking part in such a huge event is exciting and all, but baking 1100 brownies for the Good Food & Wine Show on top of baking for 2 coffee shops and baking a 2 tier cake for a 70th birthday was really a bit too intense. So yet again I am saying “I will never do this to myself again.”
I often forget that I am physically a bit limited due to scoliosis and only having partial functionality in my right arm. After an event like this, my body makes me fully aware of my reality. It’s time to be kind to Aurelia, know what I mean? I have limits and that’s okay 🙂
BIGGEST SHOUT-OUT THE WORLD HAS EVER WITNESSED TO MY HUSBAND!!! He is the most incredible and talented human being. Whatever his hands and mind commit to, ends up blooming! I’m still working on getting him to bake something… I’m 100% sure he’ll be great at that too! One day honeypie… One day.
Your constant, joyful love and support make me feel like a divinely beautiful giant! I could never have done any of this without you!
Another shout-out to my cousin Judith who supported me every single day before, and during, the show. She calls herself my “groupie”! She is really like my sister and it was so wonderful to share this whole experience on a day to day basis with someone who cares so much about me and believes in me and what I do. I deeply appreciate your love and excitement over my life.
Thanks to everyone else who helped, supported and lent things for the Good Food & Wine Show: Mom, Erin, Dylan, Saa-rah and Bonnie. Sorry if I’m leaving someone out.
And the best has been saved for last… My Jesus. My air and joy. Thank you that my value in You is steadfast and doesn’t get swayed by any success or failure. I love You.
Thanks for reading! It has been quite a journey and I am grateful for it.